I’d never had ramps, but I’d certainly heard of them. When I ran across them in the grocery store, I grabbed some. I love green onions (scallions) so I was excited to try this relative that is only available in the spring.
I had a nice bunch, so I made two different dinners with them. For the first, I started with tortillas, to which I added feta cheese (I wanted to use goat cheese but had none), shrimp, the sliced ramps, mushrooms, some leftover broccoli, and a little cheddar cheese. I cooked them at 400 until the shrimp were cooked through. When I took them out, I added some sliced avocado and squeezed lemon over them. This was very good, but would have been better with goat cheese. I did not taste the ramps very much – all the tastes blended together.
For dinner #2 I decided I wanted to really be able to taste the ramps. I took a pork tenderloin, cut it into 2 inch wide pieces and marinated them in olive oil, thyme, Worchestershire, salt, pepper and some pineapple mango juice. Then I sent Mr. MarthaAndMe out to the grill with instructions to grill the meat and to also grill the ramps (which had been rubbed with olive oil). The photo at the right is the one I took when dinner was brought in – before I realized the ramps were not cooked at all. He put them on the top rack right at the end and they got warm, but didn’t cook. Back out to the grill he went and cooked them some more on the lower shelf and this time they cooked. I really liked them. The flavor is more refined than that of green onions. I wouldn’t say it is more delicate, because it does have a little kick, but it just different. I really enjoyed them.
Potato and Zucchini Hash from May Martha Stewart Everyday Food was our pick for today, chosen by At Least Twice a Week. I love potatoes and am always looking for something new to do with zucchini. This recipe was pretty simple – fry up 2 potatoes (peeled and sliced thinly in small pieces) with half a sliced onion. Once the potato is cooked, add in 1 thinly sliced and cut zucchini. Salt and pepper it to taste. Martha says to serve with fried eggs, but I skipped that.
Very simple, and very good! I liked this, even though it sounded sort of weird (potatoes and zucchini?). It worked well as a dish though and was easy to put together. I love it when Martha has me try something new and I am pleasantly surprised.
This month’s MS Cupcake Club pick is Tres Leches Cupcakes, from the Martha Stewart Cupcake book. I just finished making these. The batter was easy to make (even though I accidentally got egg yolk in the whites and had to start over). After you bake it, you are supposed to brush a mix of cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk on them. It made so much though and it took forever to brush it over and over on the cupcakes. I stopped when I had a few tablespoons left and the cupcakes looked pretty saturated.
I tasted one after they sat for 30 min and I didn’t care for it. It tasted very eggy and custardy to me. I then sprinkled my last bite with cinnamon sugar, and that was good, so I did it to the rest and put them in the fridge and am hoping maybe they will taste better cold later tonight or tomorrow. They’re also really wet, so maybe they will sort of set up once they’re cold.
I’m embracing all spring has to offer and that includes trying some new foods. I’ve never had fiddleheads and when I saw them in the grocery store, I pounced. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I checked Martha’s site. Her only recipe was to steam them and put butter, salt, pepper and lemon juice on them, so that is what I did. They weren’t bad, but I think you have to get used to them. They are a bit like asparagus, which can have a strong flavor.
I did a little research after we had them and learned some interesting facts. Fiddleheads are actually ferns that have not yet unfurled. They’re named fiddleheads because they look like the curved top end of a fiddle. They have to be cooked to be edible (when I steamed them, the steaming water turned brown which was kind of icky!). I found some recipes here and will definitely try some of those in the future.
My next spring food experiment? Ramps!
I have Lucinda Scala Quinn’s cookbook, Mad Hungry. Lucinda is an editor at MSL and I’ve always thought her recipes in the magazine were dead on. The cookbook is pretty fun and is supposed to be about feeding a family of men and boys. Although I don’t have 3 sons like she does, I have found some things in it to make.
Recently I decided to try her recipe for Crunchy Sesame Chicken Wings, but modified to my needs. The photo in the book looked fantastic and my kids are HUGE fans of sesame chicken. I was stuck with chicken legs though since I can’t get organic wings. I used 10 legs. The recipe says to mix up 3 eggs and coat the chicken in them. I used 1 egg and 1 egg white. I mixed in honey and sesame oil, hoping it would make this taste more like the Chinese restaurant dish sesame chicken.
Then you dip the wings in a mix of 1/2 cup sesame seeds, 1/2 flour, 2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 2-3 minced garlic cloves. Bake the legs on a greased baking sheet at 375 for 30 minutes, then turn it up to 400 for another 20-30 minutes. I lined my sheet with foil that I sprayed with Pam, and ended up sprinkling some olive oil over it halfway through.
The chicken was fantastically crunchy – Lucinda was a genius in constructing this coating. However, I felt like it was just lacking in flavor. If I make this again, I would either marinate the chicken in honey and sesame oil and maybe some soy sauce or I would try to coat it in just honey with a little water to loosen it up. My kids like their sesame chicken sweet and this wasn’t. It’s worth making again if I can pump up the flavor b/c it was just so majestically crunchy!